Bulls put Griquas to the sword
The Blue Bulls kept their Currie Cup play-off hopes alive after claiming an emphatic 52-10 win over Griquas in Kimberley on Saturday.
The men from Pretoria scored seven tries and in the process secured a much needed bonus-point to narrow the gap on the table to just a point behind the Free State Cheetahs who are in fourth place.
The Bulls dominated the early exchanges and opened the scoring in the eighth minute when Handre Pollard succeeded with a penalty.
They then scored their opening try, in the 19th minute, when Wiaan Liebenberg was the last man to stand up, under a mass of bodies, after the Bulls went on a drive from a line-out on Griquas' five-metre line.
Five minutes later fellow back rower Willie du Plessis increased the Bulls' lead when he ran onto a pass from Rudi Paige before scoring under the posts.
Pollard converted and with the score at 15-0 the visitors were in full control of proceedings.
Griquas fought back, however, and were camped inside the Bulls' 22 for final 10 minutes of the half. They thought they had their first points of the match in the 30th minute when Ryno Barnes barged over, after a cleverly-worked move at a line-out on the Bulls' five-metre line, but he was held up over the line by a superb tackle from Akona Ndungane.
And within the space of three minutes, Marnus Schoeman, Leon Karemaker and Marnus Hugo were all stopped in their tracks, on the Bulls' try-line, as the hosts went in search of an elusive five-pointer.
They were eventually rewarded with a penalty try, shortly before the break, when referee Quinton Immelman's patience ran out with the Bulls after continual infringements at the scrum. To add insult to injury, the visitors' loosehead prop Marcel van der Merwe was sent to the sin bin for his role in that indiscretion.
Francois Brummer converted and Griquas narrowed the gap to five points, after Gouws Prinsloo succeeded with a monster penalty from just inside his half on the stroke of half-time.
The Bulls made it 18-10, when Pollard added another three-pointer five minutes after the break but they put more daylight between themselves and their hosts, three minutes later, when William Small-Smith scored their third try. The young outside centre was rewarded when he crossed over after trading passes with Ndungane.
Griquas suffered a further setback when JP Nel received his marching orders for a professional foul close to his try-line and the Bulls made them pay during his 10-minute spell on the sidelines.
Three minutes later, burly lock Paul Willemse secured the try-scoring bonus-point when he scored the visitors' fourth try, after shrugging off three defenders.
The Bulls then opened the floodgates and ran in three further tries with Small-Smith and Willemse both getting their names on the score-sheet again and Jurgen Visser added the final nail into Griquas' coffin when he rounded off a fine team effort in the 70th minute.
Tries: penalty try
Yellow card: Nel (48th minute professional foul)
For Blue Bulls:
Tries: Small-Smith 2, Willemse 2, Liebenberg, Du Plessis, Visser
Cons: Pollard 4
Pens: Pollard 3
Yellow card: Van der Merwe (37th minute illegal scrummaging)
Griquas: 15 Gouws Prinsloo, 14 Richard Lawson, 13 JP Nel, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Rocco Jansen, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Marnus Hugo, 8 Leon Karemaker, 7 Burger Schoeman, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Jaco Nepgen, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 2 Ryno Barnes (c), 1 Steph Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Matt Dobson, 17 Brendon Pitzer, 18 Patrick O'Brien, 19 RJ Liebenberg, 20 Jacques Coetzee, 21 Du Randt Gerber, 22 Jean Stemmet.
Blue Bulls: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Sampie Mastriet, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Akona Ndungane, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Jono Ross (c), 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Wiaan Liebenberg, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Marcel van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 17 Frik Kirsten/Dean Greyling, 18 Grant Hattingh, 19 Jacques Engelbrecht, 20 Lohan Jacobs, 21 Ulrich Beyers, 22 Clayton Blommetjies.
Referee: Quinton Immelman